Hardly a novel decision
Sir — Murli Manohar Joshi has finally intervened and stalled the Central Board of Secondary Education’s move of shoving out Premchand from the class XII Hindi syllabus (“Premchand returns to syllabus”, May 8). So now the students can choose either Premchand’s Nirmala or the novel by an obscure saffron functionary, Mridula Sinha. But most students have already been taught Sinha’s novel — which leaves them with no room to exercise the choice they have been given. It is all very well for CBSE members to indulge in politicking, but the students should not be made to pay the price.
Rajeev Dubey, Patna
Sir — The proposal by the city police chief, Sujoy Chakraborty, to enforce certain rules to check rallies, jaywalkers and errant hawkers is laudable (“Rule book to rein in rallies”, May 6). But the history of failures to implement similar proposals in the past makes it somewhat difficult to believe that this time the efforts will bear fruit.
It is good that the government has assured the police all kinds of administrative cooperation, but the police must be careful so that hawkers, when displaced from the pavements, do not find political parties to take up their cause. Having agreed to bring positive changes in the state’s deteriorating road and traffic situation, political leaders should ensure that their followers do not foil the attempt to make Calcutta more cleaner and more liveable.
Sumant Poddar, Calcutta
Sir — Commendable as the latest proposals of Sujoy Chakraborty are, they must be taken with a pinch of salt. The very idea of organizing a rally at a pre-set time and through a pre-determined route will not appeal to most of the unruly political party leaders. Their objective has always been to cause maximum inconvenience to people, as if this is the only way to make them aware of the cause of their protest. These leaders will never settle for an organized and civilized manner of protest because they do not believe in it. Besides, civility does not come naturally to them.
A. Basu, Kharagpur
Sir — Jaywalking has become such a common affair in the city today that jaywalkers do not invite raised eyebrows. People in Calcutta appear to walk everywhere but on the roads and do not even think twice about crossing roads when the traffic signal is green. The traffic police on duty is normally so nonchalant that it seems that they too have given up any hope of bringing these jaywalkers to book. The exercise inevitably turns out to be a futile one. The office-goers spilling on the roads, especially in the BBD Bag area, is enough to illustrate how sorry the state of affairs is. Only at a handful of traffic intersections does one get to see strict policemen keeping a close watch on the pedestrians.
Take last month’s incident when two lawyers were caught jaywalking and threw tantrums upon being stopped from violating a traffic rule. If such respected and professionally qualified people do not see any point in obeying basic rules on the roads, much cannot be expected from the common people.
J.C. Samaddar, Calcutta
Sir — While efforts are being made to rein in the chaotic road conditions in the city, a beginning can be made by hiking the fines charged to offenders on the streets. At present, fines are really nominal and in most cases, it hardly affects the offender, who would flout the same rules again with impunity. If it really pinches the pocket, the same men might become more responsible. Such rules, before being implemented, must also be properly advertised, so that people are alerted and no one can feign ignorance when hauled up by a traffic policeman.
P. Ghosh, Calcutta
Sir — It was ridiculous to read about the suggestions of the Calcutta police to penalize jaywalkers on the streets. To enforce this kind of strict discipline on the city streets, the police must first clear all the pavements encroached upon by hawkers and also ensure that there is a zebra crossing and traffic signals at all prominent intersections in the city.
Tripti Chandak, Salkia